With the college semester coming to an end and the summer finally starting, it was obvious that most of us would have to start working, to pay off our last student debt. Fortunately for me, I had already found ways to pay it off before the summer so I can relax and enjoy now. As soon as college ended, I had this routine where I would go to the coffee shop right around the corner on the way back home. I had been going there all year after having found it at the beginning of my stay here. I lived with my roommate who showed me this cafe. She knew I loved my coffee very much and hooked me onto this amazing place.
The cafe stayed true to its name, “Brewed Memories” for whenever I went there I walked out with memories I would cherish forever. That particular day, I had a very stressful day because my cat, Bookie, had fallen ill and running to the vet had been extremely exhausting. To take my mind off of things, I went over to the coffee shop to relax and unwind there as it was my comfort place. Walking in, the bell rang as I opened the door to this rustic, old corner shop and the strong aromas of freshly brewed coffee and baked cookies filled me with instant joy. The chatters of the people in the shop talking away and enjoying their time in this precious cafe was a sight to behold. The cafe was furnished with wooden chairs and round tables, and the coffee counter with the barista serving us delicious coffee.
To my surprise, a new girl was serving us coffee that day. With my growing curiosity, I greeted her. “Hi, my name is Ellie,” I said.
She replied with a beautiful smile on her face, “Hey Ellie, I’m Riley.”
Hearing her sweet voice I was a little dumbfounded and before I could even say anything else I felt myself blush. I felt as though I had forgotten all my troubles and wanted to stay here forever. The thoughts of how beautiful this new girl Riley was rushed into my mind and I found myself just adoring her.
I was snapped back into reality when she called out to me, “Earth to Ellie, what can I do for you?” Feeling embarrassed, I asked for an iced latte and thanked her and took a seat at my favourite table by the corner window. When my drink was ready she called out my name and I went to collect it. While I was going back to my table she stopped me and asked for my number. I was so confused because this was the first time after understanding my sexuality did a girl show interest in me too. We spent the entire day talking to each other…and me getting to know her was possibly the best thing that had happened to me this whole week. We bid our goodbyes knowing we would meet each other again. I met Riley every day, and we spent hours together after her shift ended. We spent months together but I was slowly starting to fall in love with her.
She told me she came out as bisexual when she was 16. Riley told me that it was never easy for her to accept her truth, but she found that she could never be happy if she lived her life as a lie. We did everything together. I was there with her when her family threw her out of their home because they could not accept her. The hard times made it possible for us to be there for each other and support each other through it all. I think it brought us closer knowing that we were struggling with similar problems.
I informed her that I was still closeted as I was afraid of whether my family and friends would accept me. This fear was justified as my parents did not accept my brother when he came out to them. I guess, at least I had him to support me. This had prevented me from loving anyone I wanted as my family never truly would support me. My family was orthodox. I was afraid to love Riley because of that. She noticed the obvious fear and held me close and kissed me deeply reassuring me that everything would be okay. I had always wondered why it was so difficult for me to love a girl. Why it had to be so hard for me to be who I am and love without any fear. It all seemed very unfair to me. Why did love have to be so difficult for me? All this fear had made me so anxious. Not knowing if I could ever openly love Riley felt unjust.
After a lot of contemplation, I decided finally that it was time I start living without fear. I want to be able to love Riley without any anxiety. I needed to let go of the negative thoughts and finally come out and live with my truth. Riley taught me that if someone truly loves me they would accept me as I am. This has been hard enough but Riley made it so much easier. I loved her with my whole heart and I did not want to let go of her. So one day, we went out as usual but this time it was going to be special. It was going to be special because I was going to hold her, kiss her and love her as a free woman.
There will be a million people telling us what we are doing is wrong or pass down hateful comments but we know our truth. We both only want to love each other and if that is wrong, so be it. Loving should not be hard. It should be the easiest thing we do.
And so we choose today to love each other. Just me and Riley.
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